Forest fire breaks out in north China’s Inner Mongolia

     Forest fire breaks out in north China’s Inner Mongolia

16 May 2008

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China — A forest fire broke out Thursday in the north Chinese region of Inner Mongolia, the local forestry authority confirmed on Friday.

The fire was spotted at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Hudiqi, Chaoyang and Naimuhe forestry farms which are under the management of the Dayangshu Forestry Bureau in the Greater Hinggan Mountains, said a spokesman with the regional forest fire command center.

The fire quickly spread to a large area. It took more than 1,400 firefighters and police officers 20 hours to get the fire under control, the spokesman said.

The total area affected could not be immediately confirmed. An investigation has begun.

Dry spell and drought have heightened the risk of forest fire for the Greater Higgnan Mountains since early this year.

Last month, the Kuizhong forestry farm, also under the Dayangshu Forestry Bureau, was hit by fire. No casualties were reported but six officials at the farm were dismissed from their posts for dereliction of duty.

Fire was also found on Friday in the forest in Jiayin County, Yichun City of northeastern Heilongjiang Province, said a spokesman of the city’s forestry bureau.

Firefighters had been sent to the scene in the Lesser Hinggan Mountains. But their efforts were hampered by strong winds and dry weather.

No reports for the fire and area affected was immediately available.

On Wednesday, the provincial meteorologic station and forest fire command center issued an orange warning alert for forest fire and warned the fire risk would last longer than last year.

Forest fires killed 94 people and injured 72 others from January 1 to April 24, according to statistics of the State Headquarters for Forest Fire Control.

China had 10,230 forest fires during the period, 45.9 percent more than the average of the past three years.

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